A few months ago had you asked me if I was voting, I would have shrugged and said “What’s the point? Will it even make a difference?” I would then slip into a criticism of the Kenyan government that we have all heard, if not spewed, a time or two.

Let’s be honest; criticizing the government is a great pass time to many of us. What we don’t realize is that dissection and analysis of the government does not just make for engaging conversation but rather, as citizens of this state, it is our right to be heard and those opinions, taken into account.

It all goes back to Rousseau’s Social Contract theory; a state is formed by the people coming together and entrusting some of our rights in the capable hands of an elected government. It’s a contract and as in any other contract, each party must give a consideration; giving something of value in exchange of something else of value. In this quid pro quo scenario, we, the citizens, give some of our rights to the government in exchange for their promise to protect them. If government does not come through on their end, it is our right, to vitiate such contract by voting in what we consider to be a more competent government.

So what’s the purpose of this civic lesson? We need to realize that the sovereign power in the state belongs to us; the citizens of the Republic of Kenya. We dictate how the state should be governed. Have you caught yourself complaining about your president? Or the uncouth behavior of your member of parliament in the August House? That’s all you! Did you vote them in? Maybe not. Did you even vote? Probably not. But in that decision to not take to the ballot, and to not let your opinion be heard, you might as well have rubber stamped the very person you deem to be incompetent.

It’s pretty clear what Kenyans are looking for this election period; change. We’re tired of the same of old faces telling us the same old tales but never really doing much in office. We want a government that is truly for the people and not just to play the card tricks they play with public funds; now you see it, now you don’t.

The system is far from perfect but we can at least do what is within our power to ensure that the people we put in office are leaders who truly represent our interests and that we participate in the shaping of this society.

“But the person I believe to be my president of choice will probably not win,” you say. Well, they probably won’t win if supporters like do not vote them in, will they? Here’s the thing, our democracy is flawed by the fact that we’re looking for a president chosen by the 51% but what happens to the 49%? Does their opinion count any less? Plus, why let all those votes go to waste? Why can’t we have a system where every single vote counts? Otherwise, the 51% can simply be the only ones to go to ballot; the result will be the same.

Here’s my challenge to you, take up your civic duty. This is your country. It’s what you and I make it to be. So if you think government could do better, do something about it! Let your voice be heard and take it to the ballot.

And another thing, I know we love being true to our Kenyan nature, but some of these things we need to boot. Like registering on the last day! Out of 30 days, the thirtieth is the only one you can spare to register? Really? All of you?

Have you registered to vote? Tell us in the comments.

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